THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 1-30-11
LESSON TITLE: “LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE: DISCERNMENT”
Our young people today often sing a song which says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…!” How true this is and praise be to God for His complete and never ending love.
It is before this God of love that we assemble this day and we thank you for joining us for this time of offering to our God. It is my hope and prayer that we are all doing our best, today and every day, to accomplish everything according to God’s precious will and His eternal purpose. Furthermore, won’t you do your part this morning so that God may truly be magnified and so that all we sacrifice toward His throne will be done in spirit and in truth.
With these thoughts in mind, will you bow with me before His almighty throne in prayer?
As it is time to begin with our first song of the morning, let me ask, “Do you realize all that your God has done for you?” Won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together a song which helps us to find the answer to this question, the name of the hymn “Amazing Grace?”
(SONG # 1)
I started the program this morning by mentioning a song which clarifies the steadfast and never ending love of God. Now I would like to consider the verses from which the rest of this song comes, they are found in Lamentations 3, beginning in verse 21. There we read, “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope." Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!” Wow, what a powerful song and passage!
Notice all of the further encouragements we find here in this text! Not only do we have hope in God because of His wondrous love, we also learn that…: “his mercies never come to an end…” WHY? “They are new every morning…” furthermore “God’s faithfulness is great…” AND FINALLY “the Lord is my portion says my soul…” “Therefore I will hope in him!”
Brethren we do have so much to be thankful for in the fact that we serve such a loving and caring God. Truly without Him I would be nothing! Have you forgotten this day just how great and mighty our God is? Are you fully serving Him and doing those things which are according to His Will? If not, choose today to get back on track with your Savior. Or if need be, believe on Christ and confess His name for the first time, repent and turn from a life of sin, and bury those sins in the watery grave of baptism so that you will be cleansed and added by the Lord to His precious family. Are you willing to take the most important step of your life on this the Lord’s Day?
As far as our main study of the day, we will be continuing our series entitled, “Let Your Light So Shine.” Our specific discussion of the morning will deal with “Discernment.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Jerry Sullins will be leading us in our main study of the day. We are again happy to have brother Sullins with us. As you might remember he is the Director of the Bible Institute of Missouri, here in Springfield, Missouri. We thank him for taking the time to lead us in the study of God’s Word this day. However, before our main lesson, let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Be With Me Lord.”
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
I would like to welcome you again to “The Living Word” Broadcast and we are so happy as we are every Sunday as you have chosen to be a part of this program this morning and we pray that what is said will be something that will strengthen you if you are a child of God to live a better Christian life, and if you are not a child of God will help you to make that great decision, in fact the greatest decision that one can make in his or her whole life and that is whether to become obedient to the gospel of Christ.
Now brother Ray has just told us in his introduction to this lesson today what one needs to do to obey the gospel. And after a person obeys the gospel through baptism into Christ for the remission of sins and is added to the Lord’s church as the writer in Acts chapter 2 verse 47 says, “Then it becomes a responsibility of that person to make determinations in his or her life as to what is right or wrong.”
In our modern day world our modern philosophy is that basically we don’t have to make those decisions anymore for most people try to consider that anything one does is neither right nor wrong. In other words, the doctrine and thoughts of existentialism, as long as you’re willing to accept those things that you are doing within yourself, and they do not harm anyone else, then go ahead and do them. They are neither right nor wrong in the eyes of God. Well how can that be true? Because the Bible throughout the Old Testament, throughout all three dispensations of time: the Patriarchal Age, the Mosaical Age, and even in this Christian Age, God in no way has taught that there is not a system that involves a choice that one makes between right and wrong. Now all of these choices pertain to the inner man. How we live as we let our light so shine before men and how people see how we are living and what they see on the outside is what we have determined on the inside that we should be. This topic of discernment is so important. We are to “let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.”
So how do we let our light so shine before men? Well as Paul told that young preacher, Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2 verse 15, he said, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, workman that needeth not to be ashamed handling aright the Word of Truth.” So it is in our handling aright the Word of Truth, our discernment of what is good or evil that determines whether or not our “light so shines before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in Heaven.”
When we turn to the book of Romans chapter 2 and verse 18, Paul said, “And know His Will,” that is we are supposed to know His Will, “and approve the things that are excellent being instructed out of the law.” So we are to approve those things that are excellent.
Also in Philippians 1 verse 10, Paul said to the church at Philippi, to those Christians, “I want you always to be able to recognize the highest and the best.” We are talking about discernment. One person defined it as “being able to distinguish between the things that differ,” and what we are distinguishing between are the things that relate to what is good or what might be evil. That is the responsibility of every Christian to make sure that he does what is good in the eyes of God and refrains from doing that which is evil.
Now the Hebrew writer made a statement in Hebrews chapter 5 which is a very interesting statement. I call your attention to Hebrews chapter 5 and we’re going to read verses 12-14. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers. You need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God and you have come to need milk and not solid food…” Now listen closely to what the Hebrews writer says. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the Word of Righteousness for he is a babe, but solid food belongs to those who are of full age,” that means mature, “that is those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
The prophet Isaiah gave a solid warning in Isaiah chapter 5 verse 20. He said, “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” That’s one of the reasons why Paul said in Philippians 4:8 that “those things that we ought to think upon are things that are true, that are noble, that are just, pure, lovely, that are of good report, if there is any virtue, that is moral excellence, and if there is anything that is praiseworthy meditate on these things.” So we should meditate as we who are Christians strive to do. Is there a day that goes by that those who are not faithful Christians consider what they are doing in the light of God’s Word, what they are saying, what they are reading. These are the people who are interested in discerning what is good and evil. These are the people who have matured in Christ and that is what we all ought to seek to do because we need to be mature Christians.
Now as we look at this subject, we are talking about internal restraints. Oh I know whenever I speak about restraining oneself people get nervous because well everyone of us in our lives have things that we need to be conscious of that probably we don’t need to be doing or saying. Is that not true? Are we not constantly aware of our need to examine what we are doing and what we are saying whether or not it is right in the sight of God?
What was it that Paul said to the Colossian brethren, those at Colossi and Asia Minor in Colossians 3 verse 17? He said, “Whatever we do in word or deed, let us do all in the name of (or by the authority) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” That means that whatever we do and whatever we say, we ought to have the authority from Christ in doing or saying that thing.
I want to offer you some simple suggestions today, you who are Christians, and you who are thinking about Christianity as to what it takes to live the Christian life and to make proper decisions as to what is right and what is wrong, what is good, that is good as it relates to God’s instructions and what is not good, what we should do and what we should not do. Consider this: What direction is that activity that you are desiring to do, what direction does it lead?
You know Jesus said in His “Sermon on the Mount,” He said, “Enter ye in by the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there are who go thereby but narrow is the gate and straight is the path that leads into life eternal and few there will be that find it.”
Yes, what direction is it leading you in? Now how many times have we as children heard our parents say, “Well I would rather you not do that because it is leading you in the wrong direction.”
I guess less than two weeks ago I was speaking to a young person and they were trying to decide whether or not to do something, in fact it was one of my grandchildren and I said, “What concerns me, Son, is this. What direction is it leading you in? Is it leading you toward doing what God wants you to do or is it leading you away from God?” Now that’s a good consideration, isn’t it? We look at many things today and they seem to be in a gray area, don’t they? That is a gray area as to try and decide whether or not it would be good or whether it would not be good for me to do those things. Well let’s consider that when that opportunity comes for us to make that decision again. Let’s consider: What direction is this really leading me into?
Well another thing I would like to suggest to you is this. Consider this: What kind of people enjoy this activity? This book that I am considering reading? Or this movie that I am going to attend? What kind of people are involved in those type of things? Well did not Paul say, “Be not deceived evil companionships corrupts good morals?” Sometimes someone may ask you to go to a movie that you know as a Christian you should not be going to. They might ask you to read a book. “Oh I enjoyed this book,” they will say, “and you ought to read it. It was something that was very funny. It was something that was dramatic and you like intense things and so therefore I think you would enjoy reading it.” Then there are those activities, parties and get-togethers where all types of foul language is used and stories are told that no Christian should involve himself or herself in, at least in being around those types of things. So what type of people are enjoying this?
Another question I would like for you to consider: Would you want your most respected friends to know that you are involving yourself in such an activity? We’re trying to decide whether something is good or evil, whether something is right for us to do or not right for us to do. Well what would you think about your friends knowing about it? You young people, what would you think about your parents knowing that you are involving yourself in a certain activitiy? And you members of the church, how many of you have gone places and you said, “Well I want to make sure no one sees me here. I want to go in the back door, or at least go out the back door. I just don’t want people to see me here.” Well my friend, my brother and sister in Christ, very well you need not be in that place. You need not read that book. You need not go to that movie because you would not want your friends and loved ones to know it.
Someone has said this, “Well, would I want to do it or see it or read it if I knew that today was my last day on earth?” Boy, that’s a good one to consider. If you knew that Jesus was about to come, if you knew that you had less than twelve hours or less than two or three hours to live on the face of this earth, would you want to involve yourself in such an activity? Would you want to read that book? Now I know that there are priorities that you have at that time, but I am talking about things that you really question within yourself whether or not you should be doing those things. Well if I knew it were my last day on earth would I want to be involving myself in that activity?
And here is what some young people say is the real kicker. I believe it is true. Would I want Jesus to be with me? Would I want Jesus to see me doing this activity? Would I want Jesus to read this same book that I am reading? Would I invite Jesus to go to that same movie that I’m going to? You know it is these things that will help us to determine whether or not, to discern whether or not, to choose between those things that differ in this way, that which is right and that which is wrong. It is these questions that may help us to make that right decision.
I have asked many times before at the end of a lesson: Is there anything that you are doing or practicing on the face of the earth that is worth the salvation of your soul? Maybe that’s a good question to ask yourself. Is it really? Or is there really any activity that is worth your soul? Is there anything that you might consider joyful or maybe something you’re participating in with a friend that you know good and well is very questionable? Is anything like that worth your soul?
So what is our desire this hour? We who are striving to be faithful Christians, our desire is that we truly discern what is right and what is wrong, that we truly try to live the life that Christ wants us to live so indeed that what can happen is that people can see us and they can pattern their lives after us as Paul said, “Be imitators of me even as I also am of Christ.” And so that people can really look at us and see that our light is so shining before them, that they can see that goodness within us, that is God within us, Christ within us, and desire to be like Him because we are striving to live as Christ would want us to live. My friend, I challenge us all to live as Christ would have us to live.
(SONG # 3 - “Anywhere With Jesus!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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May we all strive to better discern God’s Will as delivered through His Word. For this is the only way we can be pleasing to Him and thus recipients of all His wondrous blessings and promises.